Your cat's oral health has a direct impact on their overall health and quality of life. Here, our East Setauket vets offer information about cat teeth cleaning and why both at-home and professional cleaning and dental examinations are important.

Why is cat teeth cleaning important?

Your cat will likely hide any pain that they may be feeling. You may not know that anything is happening until the pain is so great they are unable to hide it. Because of this, owners need to be conscious of their feline companion's oral health and keep their furry companion's teeth clean. By monitoring and regularly cleaning your cat's teeth, you will be able to detect any oral health issues early and help your cat avoid pain and expensive treatment.

How to Clean my Cat's Teeth at Home

You should dedicate yourself to doing daily oral hygiene with your cat. By brushing their teeth and cleaning their mouth daily you can help ensure that their oral structures remain healthy for life. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, begin establishing a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat while they are still a kitten. This way, your cat will be accustomed to having its teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age.

Strive to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of your kitty's daily routine. Once you find that your cat is nice and relaxed you can begin with the following steps:

  1. Gently lift your cat's lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for just a few seconds.
  2. Don't expect too much from your cat at first. You may only be able to reach a couple of teeth the first few times you try this process. That's okay though. This is about building trust in your cat to help prevent them from becoming agitated. 
  3. Remain calm and be sure to give lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth-and-gum massage. You're trying to build your cat’s tolerance to the experience, gradually increasing the length of time you spend on the task each day.
  4. Once your feline friend is used to you massaging their gums each day, you will be able to gradually introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush you can acquire from your vet and some special cat toothpaste. Toothpaste can come in a range of excellent flavors for cats like beef or chicken.
  5. Begin using the toothbrush as gradually as you did the teeth-and-gum massage; your cat may begin by licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger. 

What happens during professional dental exams and cleanings?

Regular annual dental cleaning and care are crucial to your cat's dental health. Taking your cat for a dental appointment is like a visit to the cat dentist. Your vet will evaluate your cat's oral health, take x-rays if required, and do a thorough cleaning.

During the cleaning, your vet will remove tartar above and below the gum line. The tartar below the gum line causes the most significant periodontal disease, so its removal is important. If periodontal disease has progressed, unfortunately, it may not be possible to save the teeth and these teeth will need to be extracted. After scaling, the teeth are polished to decrease the rate of plaque build-up.

If your cat is suffering from a mouth injury, tooth loss, or severe decay, your dentist will provide you with recommendations regarding care or surgery to treat your cat's oral health issues.

How can I prevent tartar accumulation after the procedure?

Plaque and tartar begin forming about six hours after your cat's dental cleaning. A home dental care plan is essential. Your vet will provide you with detailed instructions on how to care for your cat's teeth at home. This can include the steps outlined above. They will also recommend a routine professional dental care schedule. This will ensure that your cat is having regular dental examinations and cleanings to help them achieve optimal oral health.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat due for a routine dental cleaning and oral examination? Please contact our East Setauket vets to schedule an appointment.